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Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Tips Computer Hardware Maintenance

What is computer hardware? Hardware components like the monitor, keyboard, CPU (Central Processing Unit), mouse, and other I/O (Input-Output) devices constitute a computer. The working of the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and I/O devices depends largely upon the CPU. Due to some minor causes, like loose connections or dust saturation, any of them can stop functioning.

Faults occurring in the CPU are most hazardous, as it has a very complicated structure. The CPU is an assembly of the motherboard, hard disk drive (HDD), random access memory (RAM), compact disc-read only memory (CD-ROM) drive, and the floppy drive. Unless you are well-acquainted with the CPU hardware, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly where the fault has occurred. If any one of these components fail to perform, there are a few repair tips that can be followed. In order to view the circuitry inside the CPU, its casing has to be removed.

Motherboard
The entire functioning of the computer depends on this component. The processor chipset, that performs all the logical operations of the PC, is embedded in the motherboard. Ribbon cables, power supply, CPU, and RAM are the things to be checked first on the motherboard. Check if any of the ribbon cables or the power supply cord is loose. Check if the RAM chip has been misplaced from its slot. The CPU (chipset embedded in the board) will not show any marks on the outside if it is blown. The only way to check whether the CPU is working or not, is to test it by mounting it on the motherboard of another PC. The motherboard has a real-time clock, ROM BIOS, CMOS RAM, RAM sockets, CPU sockets or slots, cache RAM slots, keyboard controller, interrupts, internal connectors, and external connectors mounted on it. Do not tamper with these components, unless you know each and every one of it well. Do not touch the motherboard without turning off the power.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
Also known as hard drive, it is the long-term storage device of the system. If the hard drive cannot be detected, check the jumper setting. The jumper setting can change the mode of the hard disk from master to slave or vice-versa. Make sure the Windows version being used for partitioning is consistent. Check that each drive has been assigned a drive-type. Make sure the pin numbers of the plug are attached to the corresponding pin numbers of the socket. Do not force the plug into the socket with extra force, the pins may bend. If the plug is not fitting perfectly in the socket, try inserting it again by flipping it over. Do not attempt to open the hard drive without enough knowledge of its components.

Random Access Memory (RAM)
It is the temporary memory of the PC. The data in the RAM is erased when the computer is shut down. Check if the RAM is misplaced from its slot. While replacing the RAM in its slot, check the small niche at the center of the chip (the niche indicates how the RAM is supposed to be placed in the slot and may not be at the exact mid position of the chip-strip). Do not forget to secure the side clips that hold the chip in place. If you are unable to secure them, it means that the chip is not placed correctly in the slot.

Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) Drive
Data stored on external storage device like compact discs (CD) is read by inserting the CD in the CD drive. If the CD drive is not functioning, check if the CD is scratched. If the CD works fine in another PC, check if the power cable of the former drive is loose. Check if the plug and socket pin numbers match. If the tray of the drive is not opening, right click on CD-ROM icon and select eject option. If the tray does not open, insert a straight thin metal pin into the edge and try to pull it open. Do not apply too much of force while doing so. Avoid connecting the CD-ROM drive on the same controller cable as the primary hard drive, this will slow down its performance.

Floppy Drive
If the floppy disk is not opening, try opening it in the floppy drive of another PC. If the disk does not open, then it is probably corrupt. If the disk is stuck in the drive, hold down the eject button for sometime or right click on floppy drive icon and select eject option. If the disk is still stuck, wiggle it up and down till it can be ejected or use tweezers to pull it out. Do not apply too much of force while doing so.

In order to avoid any kind of faults, following maintenance tips can be followed:

  • Do not let dust saturate on the motherboard. Clean it with a vacuum cleaner or a hand broom once in 2 to 3 months.
  • The hard drive mostly does not need any external cleaning, though by performing de-fragmentation and disk clean, it can be prevented from crashing.
  • In the case of the CD-ROM, do not pull the tray forcibly. Make use of the insert/eject button rather than pulling and pushing the tray.
  • Clean the tray once in a while. Do not keep any heavy object on the tray. Avoid running scratched or damaged CDs in the CD-ROM.
  • If the CPU fan is making too much noise, unmount it and oil the bearings.
  • Do not attempt to start the PC if the fan is not in a working condition.
  • If the fault persists, contact professional services. Also make a note of what exactly is happening when you start the PC. It makes the diagnosis a lot easier for the professional.

The CPU is the brain of the computer. Proper maintenance of the CPU, as well as all other components, enhances the computer performance.

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The Computer Input Devices

Once upon a time, the only way one could get data into computer memory, was through a keyboard. However, with the speed of technological advancement, newer and faster devices have been created. This helps one get loads of information transferred into the computer, without having to do much manual work.

What are Computer Input Devices?

These devices are hardware components that help you transfer information into a computer. Without them, your computer will be more or less like a television set. So an input device is any peripheral device that helps feed data and control signals to a computer. These devices can be broadly classified, according to the modality of input, discrete/continuous input, and the degrees of freedom involved. Some are classified according to their pointing ability, as follows:

  • Direct input devices, where the pointing is done directly in the space where the cursor is seen. Examples are touchscreen pointers and light pens.
  • Indirect pointer examples are a trackball or mouse.
  • Pointers for touchscreen, where the positional information is absolute or relative, when the mouse is lifted and positioned according to need.

List of Input Devices

These devices help in manipulating data on a computer. The following are some of the most commonly used input devices.

Keyboard: The oldest and most widely-used computer input device is the keyboard. It is available with desktop computers, laptops, etc. The computer keyboard contains all the alphabetical and numerical keys for input of data and commands. The keyboard is generally connected to the computer with a wire, but nowadays, wireless keyboards are also very common.

Mouse: The small hand-held computer device that helps make selection and navigation of the screen easy, is the mouse. The mouse displays a cursor on the screen that serves as a guide for opening files and folders, as well as making selections. The mouse, like the keyboard, is either connected with the computer through a wire, or has a wireless connection.

Stylus: The tablet uses a pen-like computer input device known as a stylus. This helps one write on tablets or touchscreens like a pen. Some tablets and styluses have buttons, that make their usage as a mouse possible. Many latest tablet models allow the user to use their fingers, instead of a stylus.

Joysticks: If you are an ardent fan of gaming, then you may be aware of what a joystick is. This is a movable stick with a button or two, that helps one control the movements of characters in a game. Many latest joystick models come with different buttons to help you make complex movements, with just a push of your fingers.

Scanners: Scanners help you make virtual photocopies of your documents or even a photograph. You can copy a digital image of the document you wish to copy, and save it on the computer, or take prints. This copy can be edited by running a graphics program.

Headsets: Headset devices have an earphone, as well as a microphone. This helps you record your voice, dictate data, or even send commands to the computer. Some headsets help you keep your hands free for working on different tasks. You can even add voice recognition software, so that only your voice will be accepted by the computer to dictate commands.

Examples

There are different devices that help you share information with your computer in different formats. The following are a few examples that help you digitize images and videos, from other devices, into your computer.

Video Input Devices

  • Web cam
  • Image scanner
  • Digital camera
  • Barcode reader
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 3D scanner
  • Laser rangefinder
  • Video capture hardware
  • MIDI Keyboard

Medical Imaging Devices

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Computerized Tomography (CAT Scan)
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Ultrasonography

These are some of the devices that help you store data from other devices into your computer. Technology continues to come up with more advanced modes of data transfer, as computing becomes an integral part of our lives.

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Different Hardware Components of Computer System

Due to advancements in Information Technology (IT), there have been various technologies that are being used all over the world. And when it comes to technology, a combination of hardware and software is evident. There are many different types of computer hardware and software that we use in our day-to-day lives, be it at a personal or professional level. Day by day, newer technology is being put to use. On that note, this article below gives a list of the hardware components of a computer system.

The types of devices mentioned below are individual components, which play a very important role in making the operation of the system possible. This is just a brief explanation of all parts.

Motherboard

This is the most important type part. It is a circuit board, wherein various parts of the system are set up. All input devices work when they are connected to the motherboard. RAM, CPU, and other crucial peripherals are installed on the motherboard. You can say that this is what runs the whole system.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

The RAM is a small chip that fits on the motherboard. It does the job of storing data on a temporary basis. RAM chips are generally available from 256 MB to 6 GB or more and are upgradeable. The more the RAM, faster the functionality.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

The CPU is a small chip installed on the motherboard that does the job of running computer programs. It is more commonly referred to as the processor. The speed of computer functioning also depends a lot on the processor’s capacity. Without the CPU, you will not be able to play games, browse the web, or run any other applications.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is where all the program files are stored for retrieval or further operation. There are many storage capacities of hard drives which normally range from 80 GB to 1 TB or more. External hard drives are also available nowadays with a storage capacity of around 8 TB.

Power Supply Unit

As the name suggests, this device is responsible for providing the system with power to function. It is an electrical box fitted inside at the back of the cabinet, which connects to and powers the motherboard, disk drives, and other similar devices. It also has a fan for cooling purpose in case of overheating.

Keyboard and Mouse

The keyboard contains a series of keys that contain all the alphabets, numbers, and special characters. It is used to type text and numerals on the console. In desktop computers, it is a separate device. In laptops, it is inbuilt. It is a very important device, as it used for typing, software controlling, and gaming. The mouse is a device that is used for moving a pointer on the console. It contains two or three buttons for conveniently accessing any file, folder, or software.

Pen Drives

The floppy drive used to be an important device that would accept the floppy for data processing. Today, no one uses them. Instead, there are pen drives that are small but extremely useful peripherals. These are the ones, which have substantially reduced the use of data CDs to transfer files and media. DVD drives are parts, which can be used for viewing data from DVDs.

Monitor

The monitor is another important part. It is an electronic display that helps us to view the various software and their functionalities on screen. It comes in the conventional CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), and Plasma types. The CRT was invented way long ago. Nowadays, the LCD and Plasma are more in demand because of their efficiency and clarity.

Printer and Scanner

The printer and scanner are both mostly used in offices. Nowadays, both these two devices come in a single device for better space and energy consumption. The printer is used to take print-outs of essential documents and images, while the scanner is used to scan documents and view them on screen with the help of image software. In other words, a printer is used to convert soft copies to hard copies, while a scanner is used to convert hard copies to soft copies.

These are just a few of the different types of hardware devices used in information technology. There are many others, such as audio and video graphic cards, router, modem, PCI cards, cabinet, etc. The types and specifications of these devices cannot be certain, as many useful advanced technologies are being introduced in them lately.

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Types of Networking Devices

A computer network is not made up of one machine or even one type of machine. It is a carefully designed system of different hardware components (networking devices) working in tandem with various rules and communication protocols. From the network scenario in a household, to a medium scale network in a school or mall to a large, border-crossing network of a corporation or service, a computer network is made up of various hardware parts, some standard and some rare and more complex. So, what are the different types of network hardware? Read on for a listing of such devices and a brief explanation of each.

Types of Network Hardware

Cables & Wires
Everything may be turning wireless nowadays but at least 2-3 wired connections have to exist somewhere in a computer network. Connecting a desktop to a router or the router to the modem, such connections are always wired and the common cable type used is CAT5 RJ-45. Wiring is typically thought of as being a Layer 1 (physical layer) device as raw data or signals are transferred from one end to the other.

NIC
Network interface cards is easily one of the most important components of a computer network. It is a hardware part that allows the computer to be identified amongst others in a network and allows the computer to connect to a network. It works in the physical and data link layer of the OSI model. This card provides the circuitry required to implement a networking standard. The most common NIC form used is Ethernet. Recent computers, both desktops and laptops have their NIC built on the motherboard, earlier computers needed an internal or external NIC to be added. Laptops with built-in Wi-Fi have wired and wireless NIC capability, but most desktops have only wired connection capabilities and will require a wireless adapter to connect wirelessly.

Hubs
Connecting more than one computer to a higher layer networking device like a router can be difficult, if you do not have a hub. A hub collects various devices through a wired connection and groups them into a segment. So, the network recognizes all devices connected to the hub, as one segment. Typical hubs allow Ethernet wired connections and have at least 4-5 ports on them and can have 8, 12 or even more ports. They are very simple devices, they do not manage or filter or function in any other manner, other than to act as a collection point. They operate in the physical layer of the OSI model.

Modems
A modem acts as a sort of converter or translator. It allows digital data or information to be transmitted over traditionally analog lines of transmission such as a telephone line. The word “modem” is a mix of two transmission terms, “modulate” and “demodulate”, which are the two main operations performed. The digital signal from a computer is converted into analog form, sent over the analog medium and then decoded back into its digital form at the receiving end.

Routers
Routers can be thought of as the mailroom of a network. They receive incoming data packets, decipher their addressing information (where did they come from, where do they have to go) and send them accordingly. Routers are essentially used for traffic management. They function in Layer 3 (network layer) of the OSI model. Routers are much smarter than hubs, they can implement security protocols, assign IP addresses, both static and dynamic and can function in both the wired and wireless transmission band. There are different router types based on their area of use, such as home or small-use routers to enterprise routers, which are used for complex routing functions in large corporations.

Gateways
A gateway acts as the meeting point or go between point between 2 different networks, using different protocols. e.g. Network A uses one protocol, Network B uses another. A computer from A wants to communicate with a machine from B but due to the difference in protocols, it does not know how to communicate. It can adopt or add B’s protocol but this is a tasking process and is not really efficient. Instead, a gateway will translate the request from the computer in A’s network, into B’s language and then translate the reply from B’s language into A’s. So, the 2 machines can communicate without any change in protocol. Gateways function in all layers of the OSI model, since they perform conversion or translation functions.

Wireless Access Points
An access point acts as a middle station for a network and helps in adding more users to it. They are connected to the network but act as a transmitter and receiver for the network signals, so other devices can connect to the access point and in turn will be connected to the main network. The best example for an access point scenario is a large house, where the router is located in the basement. So, the ground floor can receive the wireless signal but the first floor cannot, due to the network’s limited range. An access point connected on the ground floor will receive the router’s wireless signal and emit it to reach the first floor, enabling users on that floor to access the original network.

With advances in technology, the features and specifications of such devices may change or the device itself may become obsolete. But for now, this collection of network hardware remains constant; and at least one or two of the above devices can be found in any computer network.